An individual can lawfully own certain firearms that are regulated under the National Firearms Act, commonly referred to as "NFA firearms", as long as that individual can legally possess the NFA firearms pursuant to federal and state law. In order to receive possession of the NFA firearms the individual must complete and file the appropriate forms, including the payment of taxes, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ("BATFE"). This process can be relatively strait forward; however, the application in the name of the individual requires the consent of the local chief of police and may not permit ownership of these items in a way that fits with how firearms in general are commonly stored and used.
Most significantly, under the NFA, an individual as the sole registered owner cannot loan the item to anyone, cannot allow anyone else to use the item, and cannot not store the item in a manner that would allow anyone else access to the item; i.e. sharing the combination to the gun safe with his or her partner.
The alternative to ownership as an individual is ownership through a revocable trust "Gun Trust" that directly acquires and owns the NFA firearm(s) for the benefit of all of the designated trust beneficiaries. The Gun Trust is a distinct legal entity with any number of trustees that are each independently permitted to possess and use NFA firearms owned by the trust. As with the individual application, each trustee and beneficiary of the Gun Trust must be legally permitted to purchase, possess and use NFA items.
At Nielsen Law Group, we guide clients through the formation and funding of a Gun Trust. We provide our clients with a fully formed trust that is valid under state law and meets the requirements of an entity that is permitted to own an NFA firearm.
Our clients can take comfort in knowing that the trust complies with federal and state law and that their ownership within their families does not violate federal firearms laws and regulations. Whether you need assistance forming your new Gun Trust or amending an existing trust to fit your needs we will be able to guide you the entire process.